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45 Colt Semi-auto - Malfunction?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Recoil Sissy, Nov 25, 2009.

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  1. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    Gentlemen:

    My limited understanding of Colt 1911's and variants is that they can be safely carried in what I believe is called condition 2. Condition 2 means a round in the chamber and the hammer cocked. The explanation as best I remember reading is that these guns won't fire unless the grip safety is also fully engaged - which according to the logic means they are safe to carry this way.*

    I've recently seen a full size modern Colt semi with what appears to be a bright stainless slide, matt finish stainless frame, and wood stocks. There are no markings on the exterior to indicate the specific model. If it helps, the serial number is: NO C 20XXX.

    My issue is this: Pull the trigger on this gun (while unloaded) and the cocked hammer falls WITHOUT the grip safety being engaged. Is this some sort of malfunction or are my assumptions about how these pistols work incorrect??

    sissy

    * Even if it is safe to do, the thought of carrying a loaded gun with the hammer cocked gives me the willies!
     
  2. chipking

    chipking TS Member

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    It is a malfunction.

    --- Chip King ---
     
  3. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    Nope condition 2 is not a safe way to carry a modern 45, get out your Cooper book and do some more studying. Yur going around half cocked.
     
  4. Recoil Sissy

    Recoil Sissy Well-Known Member

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    SBE:

    It aint mine and I wouldn't carry it (or anything else) loaded and cocked.
    The question is whether the hammer dropping (without the grip safety engaged) can possibly be correct.

    Thanks.

    sissy
     
  5. PerazziBigBore

    PerazziBigBore TS Member

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    Sounds to me like the leg on the grip safety has been filed to much.. or a part swapper did not know how to check this.. The leg is suppose to keep the trigger from moving until the grip is squeezed..raising the leg out of position..so the sear can move.. and release the hammer.. It's a unsafe carry condition... If you get a new grip safety..and have it properly fitted..you'll restore the correct function... Also check that the thumb safety is fitted correctly.... With an empty gun..cock the hammer and put thumb safety on.. pull the trigger... Nothing should happen.. then release the thumbsafety.. If the hammer falls without you pulling the trigger.. you have another problem.. Hope this helps... All Good.. Mike
     
  6. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    The grip safety can be disabled by pinning it forward (in the depressed position).

    If you squeeze the grip safety on the pistol does it move (about 1/8 inch) or is it stationary?? If stationary it has most likely been pinned.
     
  7. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you do have some broken or deactivated parts.

    The way to carry a loaded 1911 is round in the chamber, hammer back, safety on. By safety, I am refering to the thumb safety that engages the slide and blocks the firing mechanisim. The other safeties are passive.

    Kind of interesting how this mode of carry alarms so many people where as other designs do not. But when it come to a carry gun, the person carrying it really needs to be completely familure with the operation of the gun and comfortable with it. The 1911 design is not CCW friendly for many reasons, the single action operation being one of them. For those that are willing/able to carry a full size auto and work on their gun handling skills extensively, the 1911 is a very effective and safe pistol.
     
  8. setter

    setter Member

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    A normal carry mode is condition 1, hammer cocked and safety on. The failure of the grip safety is correctable. There is a projection of the grip safety that's probably been filed down or it wasn't properly fitted.
     
  9. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    It is common to find a 1911 pistol with the grip safety disabled. It is commonly believed that the grip safety was just added on to Browning's original design to meet the military's specification for number of safeties back when it was adopted. All the grip safety does on conventional 1911's is block the trigger from being pulled. Some people have problems disengaging the grip safety and use this rational to justify disabling it. Also the p35 didn't have a grip safety. I don't recommend disabling except on competition only guns where necessary that are used where the rules allow it.

    It sounds like the grip safety may have been disabled on the pistol you are looking at or maybe the spring has lost tension and is not rotating it all the way back to block the trigger.

    I think you are confusing condition 2 with condition 1. Condition 1 is the safe way to carry a 1911, that is fully loaded with the thumb safety on, hammer back of course. The thumb safety will not work unless the hammer is back. The only other way to keep the 1911 is completely unloaded magazine out and hammer down. By restricting to these two modes you KISS or keep it simple. Of course the military carried the 1911 with the hammer down on a empty chamber with a loaded magazine in the butt, rack the slide on the way up, which is also the way the Israeli's teach. The last time I taught a class with MP's on the Beretta 92 they were carrying them the same way, empty chamber hammer down full mag and safety on. Kinda defeated the whole purpose of going to the "safer" double action pistol.

    Some old timers want to carry the 1911 on half cock and thumb cock it on the way up like the old Single Action Army, not a safe practice. The hammer spur on the 1911 is not near as big and handy as on the SAA. We've learned better in the last few decades. Then there are those who wanted to carry with the hammer completely down on a loaded chamber, in that case the half cock had a chance to catch the hammer when your thumb slipped off to keep the pistol from firing and a bullet piercing a part of your anatomy.

    The 80 series on Colts don't have a real half cock notch, they just have a flat ledge on the hammer, pre-series 80 guns actually had a half cock notch the sear would be caught in. They added the firing pin safety on the 80 series, I guess Colt figured the half cock notch was redundant.

    So if the grip safety is not working you can pull the trigger from what would be half cock on a 80 series pistol and the hammer will fall, but the hammer shouldn't have enough spring behind it to let the pistol fire, theoretically anyway.

    An easy way to check the grip safety is after making sure the pistol is unloaded with the hammer cocked hold it in a way that puts no pressure on the grip safety at all and see if the trigger will move back, it should be blocked. If the trigger moves back enough and the hammer falls the grip safety is not working. Have a gunsmith check it out. Sometimes it is just an adjustment.

    As far as being concerned about carrying the 1911 cocked and locked consider this. The thumb safety locks the sear and hammer together in a more secure way than most firearm safety's that only block trigger movement. Also when you go hunting with most any firearm you own you are carrying it cocked and locked, you just can't see the hammer. As an example, your 870, your 1100, your OU, your 1022 your bolt action rifle, on and on. This and the fact that many holsters put some leather between the hammer and firing pin eases most peoples mind. Believe me I've made that explanation many times.

    The fact is the only true safety on any firearm is the person holding it. A 1911 or any other firearm that is in good working order is not going to fire by itself. A 1911 will fire if it is loaded and your take the safetys off and someone pulls the trigger. I would not want a firearm that would not do this.
     
  10. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    My understanding is; "condition 2" refers to.....hammer down on a loaded chamber (firing pin on a 1911 isn't long enuf' to protrude thru' the breechface with the hammer ALL the way down).

    John C. Saubak
     
  11. gdbabin

    gdbabin TS Member

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    At the risk of causing a tangent. I really don't know much, if anything about it, so please go easy on me here:


    "The proper way to carry a loaded 1911 is chambered, hammer back and safety on."


    When is it appropriate and advised to carry a weapon in this state other than when danger is immanent, or an intended target is in sight?


    Guy Babin
     
  12. Old Cowboy

    Old Cowboy Active Member

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    It's obvious that John Browning designed the pistol to be carried "cocked & locked" (hammer fully cocked on a loaded chamber, thumb safety on).

    John C. Saubak
     
  13. Bruce Em

    Bruce Em Member

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    hammer back on an empty chamber makes cocking easier.

    We have a local gentleman who snagged his sight while withdrawing from a holster. Bullet entered abdomen, exited abdomen, entered and exited testicles, entered thigh and stopped at the ankle. To add insult to injury, the police confiscated his guns and charged him with discharging a FA in the city. The hoodies meanwhile continue banging away all over the city.

    regards

    ****oh AND he had disabled the grip safety.
     
  14. PerazziBigBore

    PerazziBigBore TS Member

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    Thanks Ross.. I forgot about a weak grip safety return spring as a maybe.. You da MAN... Happy Thanksgiving.. Mike
     
  15. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

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    Guy..when is it appropriate...if you are carrying, you obviously expect danger. Carrying a defense gun with the chamber empty requires two hands and often unavailable time to get the gun out, rack the slide and then aim...

    Cocked and locked on a 1911 is the way for defensive carry. Hammer down on a live round, while safe, requires you to cock a hammer on the draw and as stated by another poster above, is not safe. The half-cock notch, as on most pistols and revolvers is a last gap thing and is sometimes missing due to hammers being dropped onto it.

    I guess you can carry for show or carry for go. If I'm carrying, it is for go..I don't want to ask a perp to wait while I rack my slide to chamber a round.
     
  16. setter

    setter Member

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    Here's my take - hammer down on a live round is O.K. for some pistols but not a 1911 design, cause if it's dropped in this condition it can fire.
     
  17. Savage99Stan

    Savage99Stan Active Member

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    Has to hit pretty hard, it has an inertia pin held back by a spring, but it can happen.

    And back to the original question...yes it is defective. It should not drop the hammer unless the grip safety is depressed.

    John Browning was a true genius. He designed a gun that should be foolproof if used according to his design parameters. It is the folks that screw with the design that mess it up. Pinning grip safeties, full length guide rods, and Colt with their asinine collet bushing. Leave it be and enjoy it.

    That said, the race guns and pin guns and stuff are fun.
     
  18. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    When do you put a round in your squireel guns chamber, you wait till you see the game?
     
  19. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    BruceEm are you relating a story about a 1911 accident or some other pistol?

    Regardless when someone snags their sight and shoots themselves it means they must have their finger on the trigger of a loaded off safe pistol pointed at themselves. Whose fault is that? I've seen it happen usually on reholster, same thing, finger on trigger, pistol loaded off safe, trigger finger is pushed back by the holster, bang, hole in leg,foot, arse, somewhere you didn't want. You just can't fix stupid people mishandling any mechanical device. As I said before the only real safety on any firearm is the person in control of it.

    Most people don't like to take the blame when they mess up, it's easier on the ego to blame and inanimate object who can't tell their side of the story. I can't tell you how many stories I've been told about guns that went off by themselves, and they all make about the same amount of sense. One of the best was of a Police officer who came home from work and laid his loaded 45 on the dresser while he took a shower, while he was in the shower it decided to go off by itself and shot his wife in the kitchen. This was the reason my roommate at the Police Academy gave me for never ever carrying a 1911. I'm not kidding, that was his exact story told with a straight face and everything.

    The firing pin on a 1911 is pretty light and it has a spring pushing it back. The only way your going to get enough inertia in the firing pin to fire a round is by dropping it on the muzzle from a very high place. They don't usually hit muzzle first when dropped, if they do unless the safety is off the slide will move back out of battery preventing the firing pin from reaching the primer. If everything goes wrong and it does drop on the muzzle from a high enough place and it goes off the round is going straight into the ground.

    As you can tell I'm a little passionate about this subject. Bottom line is to pick whatever you feel best with and you can shoot best with. Don't be brainwashed into thinking that brand x is going to make you a safer gunhandler than brand y, the only safety is you. You take on a tremendous responsibility when you decide to handle and use firearms, it is a responsibility that you can never take for granted or allow complacency to set in.
     
  20. ccw1911

    ccw1911 Member

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    One of the big problems with the hammer down on a live round condition is that you have to let that hammer down on the live round manualy. That is a high disaster factor situation for no good reason.
     
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